Monday, October 03, 2011

The New Kid on the Block

I just received a note from Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein asking me to announce Klal Perspectives. It is a new internet journal that he is part of. The mission statement is as follows:

Klal Perspectives’ goal is to provide the Torah community with a forum to address and debate the major issues confronting the community today. We envision a journal in which a diverse group of rabbinic and lay leaders will share their varying perspectives on a given topic in each issue, with an eye to not only describing problems but also pointing to possible solutions. Input from the broader community will be sought and published as well, in order to broaden the discussion and enlist as many talents as possible in developing strategies for the future.

A while back another journal made its debut in print form. It was called Dialogue. It contained articles dealing with the hot topics of the day presented from an unapologetic Charedi perspective. It’s mission statement was to basically replace the Jewish Observer, the now defunct magazine of Agudath Israel. Although it seemed to be doing exactly that - I believe its title is misleading. The only dialogue taking place in that magazine was among Charedim who pretty much all agree on those issues.

This new internet publication boasts a far broader spectrum of thought. The editorial board consists of the following individuals:

Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, Moishe Bane, Rabbi Moshe Hauer, Rabbi Ahron Lopiansky and Rabbi Yonoson Rosenblum. The Managing Editor is Rabbi Dovid Goldman.

Of the above I know only know two. One is Jonathan Rosenblum - a moderate Charedi spokesman of sorts for Agudah. (Curiously he is given the title rabbi even though I distinctly recall him insisting that he is not). The other is Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein. He is someone I would call either a moderate Charedi or a right wing modern Orthodox Jew. In both cases I believe their perspectives are very similar to mine.

The first issue has articles written by both. It also includes articles by Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zweibel, executive director of Agudah; Rabbi Heshie Billet, Rabbi of the Young Israel of Woodmere; Rabbi Moshe Hauer, Rav of Congregation Bnai Jacob Shaarei Zion in Baltimore; and; Rabbi Gedaliah Weinberger, Chairman of the Board of Agudah; and Moishe Bane, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Orthodox Union.

This journal has the potential to do some of the things I have been fighting for - create a sense of Achdus among Jews with differing Hashkafos. I have not had the opportunity to read the articles yet. But the fact that a group of people with diverse backgrounds writing in their first edition is a good sign.

That said. I would have liked to see a bit more diversity on the editorial board. For example, it would have been a major plus had they gotten someone of the stature of Rabbi Michael Broyde or Rav Aharon Lichtenstein to serve. Or Rabbi Gil Student – the most popular Orthodox Jewish blogger on the internet. This would certainly have broadened the scope of their mission. I will however reserve judgment until I read some of the articles and see what kind of contributors they feature in future editions. Wouldn’t it be nice to see Rabbi Zweibel and Rabbi Broyde writing in the same issue? I think so. That would truly show Achdus.

With these words I now depart for Israel. I will be spending Yom Kippur and Sukkos with my son and his family in Ramat Bet Shemesh. I will resume writing posts as soon as I arrive – which is tomorrow. I do not anticipate breaking my habit of writing a new post every day while I am there (excluding Yom Tov and Shabbos of course). But I will not be able to moderate the comments as frequently as I normally do. So I am opening up the commenting section to allow the free flow of conversation - and will ‘post moderate’ to eliminate comments that violate the commenting rules. So please behave yourselves.